Sunday, 26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday

We spent Sunday morning at the allotment, the weather was lovely, if a bit windy, managed to weed the gooseberry patch, raspberry beds and add a new layer of mulch to them. We have partly weeded round the fruit trees and added some mulch to that area too, will finish of the rest another day. L loves to rake, so she happily raked the mulch all over the beds for us, then enjoyed transporting a small amount balanced on her rake to different patches around the fruit trees. She wanted to know why we were doing this, so explained that adding a layer of mulch kept the weeds down, so we didn't have to spend so long weeding, it helps the soil keep moist when the weather gets hot but also protects the plants in the cold, also as it breaks down it feeds the soil so the soil stays healthy and therefore the plants healthy as well. I'm sure there are more reasons but thought this was enough for her to think about for now. She was fascinated with this and was busy chatting away to herself and telling the plants why she was putting the mulch around them.

I disturbed an ants nest and we spent some time watching them,  L sat their and said to them " I am sorry ants Mummy didn't know you had a home there, I am sure you can find somewhere safer to build your home, the vegetable patch isn't the best place" when we came home I found out some more information to show the ants eggs, their tunnels etc.

Started the unicorn embroidery last night and really enjoying it, makes a change from all the cross stitch I have done recently. This is present for a friend's daughter, the kit came from Hawthorn Handmade, the fabric is lovely and it came beautifully boxed too all wrapped in pink tissue, which means when I come to wrap it all up I already have all the materials I need to wrap it beautifully. Happy days.

Linked up with Frontier Dreams for crafting on

Thursday, 23 March 2017


Had a lovely walk this morning spotting all the trees with blossom on them and the children trying to jump over all the puddles they found. Then home for a snack and to read this weeks story which was from Australia, we had a look at some Aboriginal art . Then left the children to come up with their own patterns, using paint and cotton buds. I was given this box of cotton buds, when O was born nearly 19 years ago, think they sat with the baby stuff for a while before migrating to the art box, I'm sure we must come to the end of them at some point but the box always seems to be nearly full, however many art projects we do!

So we have butterflies and flowers

 and a rainbow exploding.

We then spent ages looking at our Maps book and talking about all the different things they could see.

We have added to our books with these too Atlas of Adventures and Atlas of animal Adventures, they are beautifully illustrated and go very well with the Maps book for extra information.

L loves being read to and we do this a lot during the day as well as several bedtime stories but she had reached the point where she had listened to her favourites so many times she wanted a change, we do use the library but she wanted something different. She loves fairy tales, so thought I would try Scottish Folk and fairy Tales, some are variations on the traditional tales others are brand new tales and she has loved them all, now on our second reading through.

I started knitting my new project, been a while since I have knitted anything in a chunky wool, it's so lovely to have something pretty, that knits up quick too, this is the  pattern, I am making the cardi. Reading a mixture at the moment, I normally have more than one book on the go, especially if the book is the type I like to ponder and act on, others like Braiding the Sweetgrass, each chapter stands alone but also leaves you lots to think about. Jane wrote about Honeycomb Kids on her blog Adventures at Tiny Toadstool Cottage and really liked the sound of it, only on chapter 4 Competitions vs Connection, how we want our children to cooperate and talk about team work but so much of what we do is about competition ,the winner and the losers, the games we play, the activities we encourage. We can build on the idea that co-operation and sharing is better than being the winner, love the example of the game musical chairs, how it encourages, shoving etc rather than co-operation. But change the rules to everyone has to try and sit on a chair, you still remove a chair each time but they need to work out how they can still all sit on the seats left, you have a co-operative game that builds connections and relationships.

 I have been trying to sort through all my books, which has been a hard process, now have lots that I want to reread before a let them go or not as the case seems to be. Reading Simplicity Parenting for the 3rd time, it's been a couple of years since I read it last, still relevant and still very aware that we still have too much stuff, we are reducing and simplifying life but when you child mind and home educate it tends to complicate the simplifying bit or at least it does for me and that's without adding in my crafts! A simpler life in many ways is an easier life and with less objects you have more time to do the things you really want to do, we will get there.

Linking up with As Kat knits for Unravelled Wednesdays

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

St Patrick's day and Spring Equinox

Our story on Friday from a Year Full of Stories, was The Pot of Gold an Irish story just perfect for a talk about St Patrick and leprechauns. Little ones loved the idea of the leprechauns and their pots of gold, we talked about the story of finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and read The Pot of Gold where the leprechaun had hid his pot of gold in the cabbage field and how he tricked the human and didn't loose his gold. They then spent some time drawing rainbows and pots of gold.

  This is the leprechaun with his field of cabbages.

We've also been reading Roxaboxen a favourite for sparking the imagination, L remembered how last year we drew roads on the patio with chalk and asked if we could do that again but as it was raining heavily, not an activity for that day. I suggested she could draw a map on paper, she asked if she could use one of the large sheets of cardboard I had been saving for a rainy day. M decided to join in and the girls spent ages creating a town, with shops, caves and a dragon, it's been used all week with the lego and dolls house people.

On a dryer day we made it up the allotment to do some weeding, I have bought a stirrup hoe or sometimes called a wiggle hoe and wanted to try it out, it's fantastic and now wish I had come across these a few years ago, hopefully it will make the weeding seed of the allotment a lot easier and quicker, fingers crossed. It's great to see the fruit trees all coming to life, seeing the baby leaves uncurl is always an amazing site, the children and I spents ages looking and talking about the different stages the leaves were at.  As this week is the spring equinox, thought it was a good time to talk about what this meant, came across this you tube video background music is rather loud but it covered a lot of information in a good way. This astronomical event of the equinoxes, the how and why the days change length etc. We've also learnt that some native American tribes call the march full moon, the worm moon, the time when the soil softens enough for the worms casts to appear and plants start to push their way up through the soil.

We have been looking at colour theory, the plan is to create some art using just warm or cool colours but to start with I created a colour wheel, so the girls have something to refer back to, knew M would be interested in it but was surprised how interested L was.

I have finished L's summer pyjamas, the pattern is this Burda one, in the last of the lovely pink floral fabric, now have sorted out some white swiss dot voile to make her top in and

 finished the button borders on my cardi, that was over 300 stitches to pick up, now have some very cute self patterning wool to start making a first birthday gift and a unicorn to embroider for another little girl's birthday.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Crafting and Gardening

Well O has managed to return to work, light duties and short hours at the moment, tiring but seems to be coping. I was worrying that it was too soon, after major surgery and every time he has come in from work I have quizzed him on how it was, how he feels and the same next morning. Luckily he knows it's because I care and worry about him not because I don't trust his ability to do the best for him. He has got a bit fed up with recovering, especially as he is normally very active but the advantage is he has been home a lot more and has been teaching L to play some new board games, mainly guess who and junior monopoly. It is lovely to see all 3 sat round a table playing together and rather impressed with how quickly L has picked up the rules of the more complicated games.

As the weather has warmed up, thought it was about time I finished knitting a cardi I started last year, I put it away at the beginning of December to concentrate on Christmas crafts, then started knitting a blanket, which I am still working on. I've enjoyed knitting this pattern but really dislike picking up all the stitches for the button borders, really do like the patterns where you knit it all in one go.

Now I have been working through my fabric stash but when a friend said she had some fabric for me that she had sorted out, I couldn't say no! One of the fabrics was beautiful floral cotton, so far I have made L a sun hat, some cropped trousers and have cut out some short sleeved pyjamas in it. There is some left, not sure how much, probably enough to make some doll clothes.

The weather has been a lot warmer the last few days, we've had a couple of days of rain but the rest have been sunny. We have enjoyed more than one trip to the park and been planting more seeds, the cucumbers that we planted last week are doing well, these are the ones for the greenhouse. The outdoor variety are still to show any signs of life, the same as the tomatoes, hopefully soon they will poke their little heads up above the soil. We've been up the allotment and cleared the old strawberry patch, they have produced some lovely strawberries over the past few years but the last year they were struggling and have past their best, so time to dig them up, dig some new compost in, ready for some fresh new plants. We have mixture of new plants ready, some we have bought, some from the runners I planted up last year and some we are growing from seed, though at the moment these are tiny little plants, that have only just produced their first true leaves. It will be interesting to see how they all do and if there is a difference in the amount of fruit each plants produce.

I am still reading and thoroughly enjoying Braiding the Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer, I have come across a couple of you tube talks by her, she talks a lot about the honourable harvest in her books but it was great to hear an actually talk about the same subject. The book is very thought provoking, if you have an interest in nature, ecology and the knowledge and believes of the indigenous people, then it is very worth a read. I have discovered she has written one other book called Gathering Moss, it will definitely be one that I will try and get a copy of when I have read this one and a couple of others of the pile I have by bed.

Linking up with Frontier Dreams and Small Things

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

When I was a child, I had a junior school teacher who, in the warmer months, would take us outside for story time, we would always sit on the small hill that had two weeping willow trees and listen, the one book that stayed with me was Wind in the Willows, there was just some magic about the book and reading it under the willow trees. Always loved the book and loved reading it too my older chidlren

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Northern Lights

Our story today from A Year Full of Stories is The Bird Wife an Inuit tale, so as normal we read the story, talked about the illustrations, the loved this picture from the book and decided to try and paint it themselves.

We then spent some time looking at photos and short clips of the northern lights, then used chalk pastels to recreate this.

While researching a bit more about the northern lights, M and I came across this website which contains a simple description on how and why they occur and also 15 stories from different indigenous tribes, which I found very interesting.

Busy Monday

Managed to finish crocheting my bunnies, so have some pretty spring bunting, the girls asked if we could get some daffodils when we did a food shop at the weekend, so added those to a simple early spring display. We have spent a lot of time comparing them to the ones in the garden and why they are flowering quicker. As well as cutting one up to show all the parts of the flower.

Using some left over wool, knitted a daffodil, might make another one, originally thought I would make a spring wreath but don't think I will have time for that this year, have a few sewing projects planned and knitting to finish of.

As well as dissecting a flower, they also spent time drawing a daffodil and talking about the parts they were drawing and the jobs they have.

Enjoyed a game of dominoes

Introduced them to the Princess game, which is great co-operative game, they have to come up with story ideas how to use different objects to reach the princess before nighttime comes and the castle is locked up for the night.

We had lovely sunshine here on Monday even if the wind was bit cold, decided it was perfect for a walk in the woods. We dropped a a new baby present of on route and got to see my friend's granddaughter for the first time, only a few days old and very gorgeous. The children headed straight for the stream and enjoyed paddling in it, L enjoyed splashing but then lost her wellie, ended up standing on one leg, while I went a got it, luckily it had landed at the edge of the stream and caught on some twigs, so it was still fairly dry inside and she can balance well on one leg!

They discovered this tree and spent time telling stories about all the creatures that might live there and the fairies who had built there home there.

You can just about spot the robin in the photo bellow, there was more than one singing away as we walked through the woods, finally spotted this one and we stood and watched him sing and wash his feathers. They also spotted some blackbirds and pigeons, as we were listening to the different songs they asked what a crow sounded like, so when we came home, I searched the RSPB site for them to listen to. The interest in crows comes from the Orchard game we play regularly.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Returning To Normal

Life came to a bit of sudden halt here, O is now home and on the mend but this was after a stay in hospital. He had been fighting of a sore throat for a while and on the 12th came down with stomach cramps, assumed he was getting a stomach bug. The pain was worse the next day, so phoned the doctors and he was seen that evening, this resulted in a trip to A&E, with suspected appendicitis. They kept him in over night, with the plan to operate the next morning. I spent the day in hospital with him, the op was delayed as there were emergencies and he finally went down to theatre at 2pm, I left the hospital with instructions to phone the ward after 3.30 to see how he was doing. Well the phone went at 3.30, had the surgeon saying O is now stable but he is in ICU, his spleen had ruptured, which they had to remove and he had lost over 4 litres of blood. The next few days were spent with hubby and I alternating our time sat with him at hospital, the care he received in ICU was amazing and even the care on the main busy ward was fantastic. We are still waiting for the results but they think his spleen ruptured due to a rare complication of a sore throat virus. I am blessed with some amazing friends, I was in two minds whether to facebook what had happened or wait till he had recovered. I am glad I did, it meant we had some lovely messages of support but also of those saying when they were free and could look after the girls, made life a lot easier, as I knew who I could ask and what day. Luckily he was so fit before this happened, all those hours in the gym has meant he is recovering well and is hoping to return work a lot sooner than the hospital said too but this is because his manager has said he can go back to light duties and will work around he his capable of. All my meal prepping and freezer stocking has been a blessing as none of us have felt like cooking from scratch, plus we weren't all home together for a meal, now need to think about restocking the freezer.

In the midst of all this, I came home one day to spot our snowdrops had flowered and our seedlings had all started growing, probably not at exactly the same time but I noticed them all on the same day, it was the same day that O was moved out of ICU and onto main ward, so a lovely positive sign.

Two weeks without any crafts being done is a long time for me, just not had the head space to concentrate on it, so know things are returning to normal, when you finally decide that the soft, stripey jersey that has been sitting on top of your fabric pile can be made into pyjamas. Ended up adapting leggings and a top pattern to make them, L is very pleased with them and has asked to make a bigger size so she has a pair to grow into. Even hubby says they suit her but as I was cutting the fabric out he thought they would end up looking some dodgy optical illusion but actually once they were made they look pretty good. Now looking at some floral fabric and trying to decide what to make with it. It is so good to have O home, his sisters have missed him loads, he is now trying to see how many games of monopoly he can beat me at!